you a window not only to his life but the environment that you’re sitting in. You get a sense of privilege and seeing things that most people would never be able to see.”
And to Martin, that’s a wow experience.
Think about giving a gift experience tailored to the recipient’s tastes. Ivy Welburn has a career in being a virtual Santa Claus. Her company, Fleur Couture, handles personal shopping for celebrities. That can mean buying dozens of gifts for people at Christmastime, but her tips on creating custom gifts are perfect even if you’re buying just a few items.
Welburn looks for antique trunks and fills them with fruit and flowers. For last-minute gifts (she’s on call for celebrities who routinely need something in a haste), she has backpacks or sneakers airbrushed or embroidered, puts a gift card in a pretty picture frame, or finds a one-of-a-kind container that will keep long after the gift is used.
What she’s seeing is that people really want to show that thought went into their gift. “People love flowers on gifts,” she says. “I never use a bow. I try to stay away from anything expected.”
For Welburn, who used to design floral arrangements, presentation is just as important as what’s inside the package. She’s decorated packages with clip-on earrings or broaches and loves using fabrics such as vinyl for wrapping paper. Anything that’s pretty and unusual.
Feel-good gifts are popular, too. A journal, bookends, a throw blanket, and hot cocoa mix, all packaged beautifully, are a warm and inviting way to chase away the winter chills.
“Everything needs to be an experience, no matter how small,” she says.
Cynika Drake identified a lacking area for busy professionals and started Lavish Lifestyles, a concierge service that arranges romantic experiences for you and your significant other based on your personality, tastes, and budget. She breaks up the monotony of dinner-and-a-movie dates.
For an annual fee of $1,200, Lavish Lifestyles will plan outings to save time and hassle. “Most clients come to me because they want to do something special but don’t have the time to plan or know what to do,” says Drake, who travels between New York and Los Angeles.
Her company offers hands-on service in not only planning romantic experiences, but also on-site parties and galas. Couples can even have arrangements made for an intimate gathering to be set up in the privacy of their homes.
Drake has planned luxury spa trips that include a car and driver and flights over a beach before a romantic dinner. One of the more memorable rendezvous she orchestrated was having a 1963 Rolls Royce pick up a couple and take them to a 1930s open cockpit biplane. The couple enjoyed a